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Collier’s employees sue over SWAT raid

Press release from Childers Law LLC

Updated at 1:40 p.m. to correct the name of the intern. Updated at 2:45 p.m. to correct additional errors in the release.

On June 2, over a dozen heavily armed members of the Gainesville Police Department’s SWAT unit raided a local commercial real estate broker’s office, confiscating all computers, cell phones, and electronic devices in the building and holding several employees of Collier’s International at gunpoint for several hours. The raid was conducted based on a year-old police report filed in July 2020. In the newly discovered police report, Bosshardt Realty had alleged that a total of one dollar in “trade secrets” had been stolen:

In a July 12, 2021, statement, State Attorney Brian Kramer declined to explain why it was appropriate to use excessive force against unarmed employees, who were not suspects, over a year-old police report featuring a dollar in allegedly stolen property. “I support our local Sheriff’s and Police Chief’s efforts to lawfully and safely execute the warrants of our courts,” Kramer said.

Jason Hurst, a member of the City’s Planning Board and an employee of Collier’s who was held at gunpoint, hands zip-tied, and detained for several hours, said he felt like he was going to be killed. “The trauma caused has led me to not feel safe in my office, not feel safe in my home, and, frankly, not feel safe in this community,” Hurst said. Although Hurst was not named in the police report or the subpoena, his phone, laptop, and even watch were taken by GPD. Officers told Hurst that it could take months for his property to be released, even if it was not involved in any alleged crime.

Three of the employees who were detained during the raid, including Hurst, and whose valuable electronic property was confiscated during the raid, have retained the Childers Law firm to represent them in a civil rights suit against the City and the police department. “Something doesn’t smell right about this case. You don’t haul reputable citizens in good standing out of their workplace at gunpoint over a year-old police report of one dollar’s worth of stolen trademarks,” attorney Jeff Childers said.

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“Needless to say, the employees in that office are law-abiding citizens who didn’t pose any threat to anybody,” Childers said. “They even took my client Nicola Moreland’s laptop and marched her out with assault weapons pointed at her, and she’s just a student intern who was on her second day on the job.”

The search warrant was signed on May 27, 2021, by Circuit Court Judge David Kreider — over 10 months after the police report was originally filed.

  • Great quote.

    “Something doesn’t smell right about this case. You don’t haul reputable citizens in good standing out of their workplace at gunpoint over a year-old police report of one dollar’s worth of stolen trademarks,” attorney Jeff Childers said.

  • Lauren Edwards is not an intern. She is a talented, professional, licensed real estate agent.

  • What connection does the judge have with Bosshardt? Normally, the legal concept of “de minimus” would apply in a situation like this.

  • Remember, the liberal democrats in Gainesville and Alachua County have controlled just about every government office, including the State Attorney’s office, police and Sheriff’s Department for years. Those of you conservatives who constantly yell, “Support Law Enforcement!” need to think carefully about that. The liberals own the police and will dispatch them against enemies. Many liberals will talk bad about police to play to their audience but behind the scenes they let them buy military surplus equipment designed for war, not civilian police matters and leverage that power to meet their ideals. Pay attention! Think! The police in Gainesville and most large cities are instruments of the liberal politicians not friends of conservatives.

    • Thank you for sharing that. It was excellent. Just shared it on my Facebook…

  • It might be related to gov’t subsidized apt. contracts on the horizon for the UF area. Follow the money.

  • I understand….It sounds like an ex-employee stole
    Data from their previous employer and this is a crime…
    After thinking about this a little, I would be very upset
    If an ex-employee stole the personal and financial information
    From my 60,000 clients. It’s a computer crime theft
    And that’s why they’re taking laptops, etc to see who
    Has the data on their drives, etc. Yeah, getting a search
    Warrant executed on you is not a pretty thing…yeah,
    People are detained and questioned when you’re there
    At the time of one…those who have not committed
    The crime have nothing to worry about. Yeah, I understand the SA & law enforcement cannot comment
    On a current case… how would you feel if someone
    Stole your identity, social security #, birth date, and applied For credit in your name…there was a theft
    And security breach. Welcome to the digital age.
    They don’t want anybody leaving while a search warrant
    Is happening so they don’t destroy evidence, etc.

  • It will be interesting to see if they found anything, and if what they found really rises to the level of ‘trade secrets.’ I’m not sure a simple list of clients, for example, would qualify as a trade secret. Stealing the recipe for Coca Cola or the Colonel’s Original Recipe or the prototype for the next iPhone? – Yes. There could be a huge malicious prosecution case against Bosshardt if they are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill and/or trying to create an unfair playing field for their competition.

  • These innocent people have a great lawyer representing them. Jeff Childers will get to the bottom of this debacle and advocate strongly for them. They deserve answers and a just resolution to this horrible experience, and we, the people of this community need to know that this kind of excessive use of force is not what we can expect in the future. This isn’t Cuba, as much as many of our local government officials would like to make it so…
    Excellent video on this, shared by another reader above. I appreciate the share, and just shared it on my Facebook page.

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